HORSE proposes a comprehensive set of activities to speed up adoption of emerging advanced manufacturing technologies of highly flexible and near-autonomous robotics systems. Auto-Guided Vehicles (AGV) and static robot will be used to enable flexible and versatile production lines. These activities serve the entire value chain and propose new concepts and business models for robotics systems servitisation and for product operation: HORSE defines and implements a technological framework that adopts novel ICT approaches and standards (OSGi) that enable the robots to be considered as centrally and remotely scheduled resources, dynamically allocated to new and varying production tasks in collaboration with humans in working cells without fences. This provides flexibility for fast configuration and take-up, improvement of quality (process control) and safety of the operator.

The HORSE framework has a multi-fold focus contributing to flexibility of the production, improvement of quality, and as an important aspect, safety. The main framework covers a large variety of applications, as it is a generic model, to be customized with intuitive interfaces for the needs of the different end-users. The framework will contain the following elements:

  1. An integrated, process-oriented management model for the high-level control of the production line process online, automatic allocation of resources (robots, human workers, interaction components, etc.) and its rapid and straightforward dynamic re-allocation as necessary.
  2. The implementation of the above mentioned management model adopting the IoT paradigm and OSGI middleware enabling and facilitating remote control and monitoring of the production line and the available resources and ease installation. For that the robot controllers, sensors and human-robot- interfaces will be coherently and seamlessly integrated as controllable and active agents in the production.
  3. The design and development of technologies enabling the autonomous and effective cooperation between robots and humans with no barriers including:
  • Multi-modal supervision and control modes for a variety of existing and novel robotic co-workers: cooperative robots (cobots) and “third hand” robots for diverse manufacturing applications.
  • Innovative hybrid position/force control for intrinsically safe flexible robots
  • Demonstration based robot programming techniques for an intuitive programming of robots tasks by non-robotics experts.
  1. The development of a multi-layered safety approach that incorporates both robot and system level safety.